Last week, my husband, Brian and I celebrated our four-month anniversary.
As most newly weds believe, we thought that we were invincible and that the stories we heard from “old married couples” would never apply to us: we will never grow out of touch, we will never lose connection, we will never grow distant, we will always be in love, our passionate feelings for each other will never change, etc. We agreed, before walking down the aisle, that we would always be each other’s ‘big yes’ or first priority as we have learned that whatever your ‘big yes’ is, will inadvertently get most of your time, energy, and attention.
But just in these four short months of marriage, we have discovered that those “old married couples” were right. Imagine that! With all that has been going on, it seems that no matter how hard we try, life is always busy: Brian is at work all week, I am busy at home or working on projects, and when he comes home in the evenings, we often work on more house-related projects. Then, every weekend, it’s always something. For the past nine weeks it has been a trip to visit my folks in Pennsylvania every other weekend for a few days, two trips to New York to help family and attend a friend’s wedding, then on to Georgia the next weekend for a wedding before returning to Pennsylvania the next. (This week has been even crazier as I have been Brian’s second “man” on his crew, and have been putting in eleven to thirteen hours a day, including working Saturdays too.)
It honestly came as a surprise to me that just in four mere months of marriage, stuff can easily come between us if we’re not super careful. After hectic days at work, Brian comes home to start a project or run errands and lately, and we’re home just in time to stuff dinner down our throats before climbing into bed early so we can try our best to get at least a good seven hours of sleep before facing the next crazy, long day.
Most nights, I crawl under the blankets and realize that we have never gotten a chance to discuss the phone calls we had received throughout the day, or the interactions I’d had with our neighbors, or talked about how his/my day went. This also means that intimacy before bed, or anytime for that matter, is entirely out of the question, too.
It did not take me long to get bothered by this. Within three short days of busy-ness and minimal communication, I could tell that it was taking a huge toll on me – emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally – and I knew something had to change. It was not that we were “falling out of love” or argued or anything like that, it was simply that we were just so busy, and finding time for just the two of us was getting hard. I felt very disconnected from my husband and relating to him somehow seemed more difficult. It was harder to see things from his point of view, little things he did that normally did not bother me, suddenly did. My patience with him was suddenly wearing thin, and I was far more irritable. It also caused me to feel exhausted and I became easily stressed out. Brian is my biggest supporter and encourager who always lifts me up and “recharges me,” but when we are not “clicking,” I feel drained in every way. I attribute this only to the lack of verbal and physical communication.
When he came home one evening, I explained what I was feeling and told him why. We discussed how things needed to change in order to make each other our first priority and ‘big yes’ during the busy-ness. We agreed to postpone dinner that evening, so I turned off the pots on the stove, and we simply made-out on the couch like the madly-in-love newly weds that we are. The heated moment eventually took us to our bedroom behind closed doors. After a while we emerged with huge smiles and sweet glances to reheat dinner. I stirred my green beans on the stove feeling so incredibly refreshed, happy, rejuvenated, energetic, connected, and more focused than I had since the beginning of the week.
Then somehow, this week, it happened again. As I said, life has gotten even crazier now that he is starting his own crew and I am now working with him every day. Even though we’re “together” all day, it’s hectic busy-ness, not quality time. It’s terribly long days at work, very late dinners, running errands for the new job, then scrambling into bed just in time to get some sleep, all before making another weekend trip to Pennsylvania or working through the weekend. Again, we had somehow lost touch due to the lack of communication. I once again became touchier and very easily stressed, and he seemed a tad less sympathetic. It seemed like forever since we had cuddled, made-out or been intimate, even though it had only been several days. My love tank was running on about 2%. On one of our ‘many’ long drives, I asked him how he felt when we “lost connection.” He summed it up very well by saying that during those times, our interactions seemed more “businesslike.” We were doing life together but not living life as one. If we made dinner “together,” we were doing just that – making dinner simultaneously, instead of making dinner side-by-side as a team who just wanted to enjoy a mutual hobby.
But the good news is that we recognize these times when things are lacking in our relationship. We talk openly and honestly about our feelings. We acknowledge the areas that are in need, and we know now, how to fix them. It is necessary to ‘make’ time to communicate both verbally and physically. (Many divorces and separations happen as a result of poor communication, and we refuse to be a statistic.)
You will never regret making time to reconnect with each other. It is insane how much better I feel after we simply cuddle and talk or fall into bed in each other’s arms. I feel calmer, more confident, more focused, more optimistic, more in love, and just far happier in general after we have reconnected. My attitude and love tank can both be at 2%, but an hour later, after having talked and been intimate, it soars high at 110%. I can go from being stressed and irritated, to being immediately head-over-heels, madly in love with him after connecting physically. Marital intimacy is like a miraculous super-glue that bonds you like nothing else, to your spouse – heart, mind, body and soul. If your sex-life with your spouse is healthy, it will cause you to fall in love with them all over again each time – and the effects will last for days instead of mere hours. If you don’t “feel in love” when you crawl into bed, you sure will when you crawl out! All feelings of disconnection will be obliterated.
So does that mean that a lack of communication will never happen again? No. It’s life. When life gets busy, so do you and you lose contact; it just happens…but it also means that an extra effort must be made to communicate and simplify things so that you and your spouse can have a strong relationship. There are always opportunities to do things and go places, but sometimes, you just have to say ‘no’ to a few things in order to say ‘yes’ to your spouse and your relationship. Our relationship with our spouse is most important – and we cannot neglect our communication and intimacy with them. Make your relationship a huge priority in your lives – and to make it a huge priority, it must be the thing you say ‘yes’ to more than anything else. Make your spouse your ‘big yes’ by saying ‘no’ to other, less important things. If you want a long, happy marriage, you will make your relationship with your honey priority number one.
At this point in Brian and my life, work is, unfortunately, very necessary, so we cannot really say ‘no’ to showing up at the job, but we can cut out a few other things here and there in order to make each other our ‘big yes’ and spend some time with one another.
Just like all other newly weds, Brian and I are still trying to figure out how we will fit in our “us time” while we spend all day at work then come home to house work before it’s early to bed. This is a new season in our lives and we are still trying to figure out how to juggle all of life’s demands while putting each other first. Figuring out how to manage your ‘big yes’ takes time and practice, but do not stop trying. With each step we take comes more wisdom and understanding, and as long as we are both in it together, for each other, I am confident we will figure out a great solution to keeping connected. We have learned to never stop talking, to always be open and honest with each other, and to keep our sex-life strong and exciting.